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Playing the Bubble in Sit and Gos

Playing the bubble in a sit and go isn’t always fun (unless you are the big stack), but it is a crucial time in any tournament. This is the point that will either make or break your chances of making a deep run and ultimately winning. A lot of players tend to get a bit apprehensive or nervous when the bubble is starting to approach.

This is the exact opposite strategy of what a winner would look to do. Even if you are playing the small stack and are in danger of busting out at any second, you should still be looking for ways to get involved. The players who let the blinds eat them alive are usually hoping for a min cash at best. Unless you are playing in a satellite event where the min cash is equivalent to the 1st place cash, this is the worst strategy that you could ever apply.

A common misconception among sit and go players is that your goal is to play to cash. While this is theoretically true, your actual goal should always be to win. Not only should it be your goal, but you should set yourself up so that you have a realistic shot of winning on a regular basis. Obviously any player will take a win if it is handed to them, but there is a big contrast between players who happen to win and players who play to win.

Your stack size and the flow of your table will both play vital roles in how you should approach the bubble. For example, a small stack will be playing slightly different than a player with an average stack. The size of your stack will often determine how you should play all on its own. There is not a whole lot of critical thinking that will be involved once you get a feel for how any given stack should be played. If a short stack is going to push all in with an ace when they are in last with four players left, it will probably do the same with five players left.

The reason that this strategy remains unaltered is because you have only a few chips and any ace is better than a random hand. This was just one example of how playing the bubble can actually be quite streamlined, but it will always come down to whether or not you are able to make the proper adjustments at just the right time.

Don’t Get Jumpy as the Big Stack

This rule is mainly geared towards the players who have big stacks when it comes time to play the bubble. There is certainly a lot of merit in pushing the smaller stacks around so that you can have an even more dominant edge when it comes time to get paid, but pushing players around can very easily backfire.

Some players will be much more willing to back down to pressure than others. However, every one of your successful steal attempts ensures that the next steal attempt won't go quite as smoothly. You should be careful and always pick your spots whenever trying to pad your stack for the very end of a tournament. There are many, many players who went from big stack to small stack over a period of five hands just because they decided to play way too recklessly. Use a big stack to your advantage, not to the advantage of your competition.

Don’t Be Afraid

One of the biggest mistakes that a sit and go player can make is to be afraid around the bubble. Yes, the bubble can definitely be quite nerve racking, especially if you are in danger of busting, but you still have a shot at earning a respectable cash. Players who get scared and let the blinds eat away their stack do themselves no favors because they will be even more scared when they are left with just one or two big blinds. If you have a small stack, you need to know just when you should be shoving all in and hoping for the best.

On the other end of the spectrum, a player with a big stack needs to be able to identify the spots where there is dead money for the taking. Sometimes a player is able to acquire a ton of chips simply by dealing out coolers to the other players, and this is usually when someone doesn’t know how to properly manage their wealth of chips. Don’t be afraid, don’t be stupid, and the bubble won’t be nearly as intimidating as it was before.

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